If 2017 isn’t the year of stress eating, I don’t know what is. I thought I’d make at least a few desserts a bit healthier by reducing the glycemic load and adding unsweetened chocolate, local raw honey, fresh dates instead of using white sugar. The result is actually quite addictive. Wait until you try the honey caramel – you’ll never go back to standard caramel again.
They’re so delicious, in fact, that I’ve already had to make them three times. They also keep well in the refrigerator if you don’t eat them as quickly as we do.
We decided to pack some up and head down to the Cape Cod National Seashore. The Province Lands are beautiful year round but is especially striking in the winter. It’s great to get out and get some fresh air, feel the ocean air and take in all the wonder and beauty of nature.
After a long beach hike, we throughly enjoyed our Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Bars. I know you will too.
Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Bars
1.5 c oats
6 dates, pitted
2 tsp coconut palm sugar
2-3 tbs water
Layer 1 – peanut
1 3/4 c honey roasted peanut butter
1/2 c unsalted peanuts
Layer 2 – honey caramel
1.5 c local raw honey
1/2 c heavy cream
1 tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Layer 3 – ganache
1.5 c unsweetened dark chocolate (Callebaut), chopped
(You can use any kind of good quality chocolate you’d like. If the chocolate is pre-sweetened, skip the honey)
Local raw honey
1 tsp butter, unsalted
1 tbs heavy cream
sea salt (optional)
In food processor, blend oats until they turn into flour. Blend in dates and sugar. Add water by the tablespoon full and pulse until the ingredients begin to stick together. Using your hands press the mixture into a 7X7 or 13X9″ pan (smaller pan equals thicker bars). The mixture does not need to go up the sides of the pan, only on the bottom. Chill in refrigerator about 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and spread the honey roasted peanut butter over the crust using an offset spatula. Sprinkles this layer with peanuts. Gently press the nuts in so they adhere to the peanut butter. Freeze the first two layers until solid.
Make the honey caramel: You will need a candy thermometer. In a separate bowl, add the butter, vanilla, heavy cream and salt. In a medium saucepan over medium, heat the honey until it reaches 250-260 degrees (between firm ball and hard ball stage). If you want the caramel really chewy, heat to the firm ball stage. If you want it slightly softer on your teeth, heat it to the firm ball stage. Once the honey reaches the desired temperature add the bowl containing the butter, vanilla, heavy cream and salt. Do not stir. It will bubble up so be careful. Once dissolved, increase the heat to the soft ball or firm ball stage. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the slightly cooled caramel over the first two layers of the pan and place in the freezer.
Make the ganache topping: Heat the chocolate slowly in the microwave, stirring frequently, taking care to be sure it doesn’t burn. Once melted add honey to taste. If you’re using sweet chocolate, skip the honey. Stir in the butter and the heavy cream. You may gently heat the chocolate if the butter doesn’t melt quickly.
Once the caramel is set, spread the chocolate over the top and sprinkle with sea salt. Place pan in refrigerator until set. Cut into bars.
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